The Los Angeles tourism board is spearheading a drive to promote America as a welcoming destination, as forecasts suggest a softening in intent to travel to the US.
Discover Los Angeles released two videos in April and May showcasing the city’s diversity and welcome for overseas visitors. The videos have been viewed more than 19 million times and received more than 1.2 billion online impressions.
The move comes as the city forecasted a slight decrease in UK visitors in 2017.
Ernie Wooden, chief executive of Discover Los Angeles, said: “Our visitor numbers from the UK were up 1.9% year-on-year in 2016, so we were bucking the trend, but we have forecast a decrease of 2.1% for 2017 based on research into online search patterns and a general softness.”
Wooden said the tourist board had not seen any indication of a fall-off so far this year, but said the forecast was a conservative prediction.
“We hope we are proved wrong, but the sentiment that there is a ‘hassle factor’ in visiting the US, tied in with other geopolitical influences, means we are expecting a slight fall,” he added.
In order to counter the perception that the US is an unwelcoming destination, Discover Los Angeles produced the videos, a move which has been followed by other regional marketing organisations and the national tourism marketing body Brand USA, which has launched a social marketing campaign called “One Big Welcome!”
Wooden said: “We wanted to ensure the message got across that safety and security are not mutually exclusive to the welcome, and we are very proud that we have taken a lead in doing that.
“Discussing security is appropriate, but we wanted to take the lead and double and triple down on our welcome message. In LA we celebrate diversity; it’s part of our fabric.”
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